If you’re tabling at a con as a Li’l Rookie, get ready to experience these 12 Stages of Feels exactly like this.
Heya folks. I don’t reblog often, but I’m rebloggin’ this.
That’s because I’ve had this day, multiple times. This was me. And if you’re planning on taking a shot at the whole cartoonist thing, this will inevitably, horribly, unavoidably be you.
Cartooning careers are forged in the crucible of obscurity. This period, the one where no one cares and you go home discouraged, is when most aspiring creators quit. It’s just too much.
But if you can live through a few years of Saturdays spent being passed over for meme t-shirts and fanart prints, if you keep producing and keep going to shows and keep sharing work, you can reach escape velocity. You can find an audience that wants to support you.
Talk yourself out of giving up. Give your work a chance. Your fans just haven’t found you, yet. ( o_o)-b
Oh god yes. So much.
THANK YOU FOR THIS!
this was me, at just about every damn convention i ever sold stuff at. i get so much anxiety, and can’t ever put myself out there loud enough for people to take notice. i barely made money the first few times, i did okay a handful of cons, and then it died again. con drama won. as of now i haven’t sold anything at a convention in over 3 years, and haven’t been to one in 2. social anxiety and being painfully shy coupled with feelings of horrible inadequacy for most of my life are not good (life drama did not help, either).
perhaps i’ll go back to a convention someday. just gotta work myself up to it.
I sympathize with this, because I had retired from doing conventions for a long, long time for exactly this reason. But I would also like to speak up on behalf of the nameless “grumpycat” artist. Because moreso than being outsold by fanart at a convention, the thing that hurts me deepest in my soul is feeling like I’m pitted cruelly and competitively with the other artists (fanart, original, or otherwise) I want so badly to be friends with. Jealousy has eaten me up alive before, and really harmed my career, and I never want that to happen again. The industry seems hellbent on keeping me in a constant cage-match with other artists, and I have to bust out at every turn.
So here we go:
Dear grumpycat artist, your work is not just “topical bullshit.” You have a place at conventions and nerd-culture gatherings, and you are no less worthy than the folks with original content. Creativity expresses itself in many different ways, and there is no “right” way to make a living as an artist. It’s true, you are fortunate to have the talent, business savvy and affection for popular properties that allows you to sell well at conventions. Hold onto that! It’s important! It doesn’t make you any greater or lesser than another artist, but… if you can, please share the wealth. With that extra money you make at cons, go buy another artist’s original comic. Go commission another artist to draw something you love. Approach someone who’s art you admire, and tell them you admire it! …. And if someone approaches you and asks if you have any advice for selling your wares and making money at conventions, please share your knowledge. You might even make a friend.
The reason for my survival as an artist is due to the kindness of other artists. I can’t spend my days eating jealousy, or I’ll die. I want to live my life by the rule that “Successful people help others become successful”, and I think I’m doing okay at that. Or at least better than I was.
No fear, no envy. Ride together, die together. *brofist to my artists peeps*
All of this is truth, for better or worse.
But you can’t call yourself an artist if you aren’t at least a little but if a masochist. We put ourselves through so much BS that most people don’t experience. ON PURPOSE EVEN! It can be rough but the important thing is to stick with it. If it is what you truly love, it will eventually come around.
I have never broken even at a convention outside of the state I live in. But I consider the new customers, and the word of mouth all cost of doing business. And business grows slowly but steadily. And the new friends and colleagues you meet are always worth the effort.
To the people who think they are locked in competition with the other artists: there is one way of getting around that feeling… TALK TO THEM. Be the first to be friendly and visit other tables and say hi and bring your work to trade or at least a card. You never know who you will meet or who will want to collaborate or what have you. And if they are snooty or closed off, whatever, that’s on them not you… Move on to the next table. Don’t dwell on them when you’ll meet at least 5 more people who will be friendly and accepting and with the same struggles and insecurities as you. When I do this it totally helps stave off the feelings of rejection and insecurity… I usually feel energized after a con if I can manage to meet and trade with a bunch of new friends even if I didn’t sell as much as I hoped I would.
Feeling low is natural but don’t let it get you down.